Coffee & Tea

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  • Piecewise Coffee Co. - Building a Drink Menu

    If you haven't been keeping up with our friends at Piecewise Coffee Co. be sure to check out their Bio and Selecting Equipment posts! Today we asked Stanton and Lindsey a little bit about how to build a drink menu for a coffee shop!

    First off, from a “chicken or the egg” perspective, did you decide on a general menu before selecting equipment? Or did you decide on what equipment to purchase and then build your menu around that gear?

    The answer I wish we could give was to knock out the menu first, but it was too tempting not to get caught up reading equipment descriptions and watching product reviews. Choosing the equipment was exciting, while locking in a menu was more-so work. However, we learned it is very difficult to build a shop without first thinking about the menu. Without it you can find yourself fighting to make the layout functional. We were fortunate to stumble upon a podcast by the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) covering café startups and it helped give us a big picture focus on how equipment and menu influence each other.

    Our menu doesn’t incorporate much onsite food preparation and a big reason was an attempt to make the startup cost more manageable. Eliminating equipment needs is an obvious answer to keeping cost low, but far costlier was the additional need for architectural designs and engineered systems. Take for example biscuits, we wanted to offer some as a secondary option to our other breakfast items and we started pricing out small ovens. Well the oven led to a ventilation hood which led to additional building penetrations for air flow which all lead to an increase in the size of the HVAC units. Our commitment level to that menu item changed quickly with those additional costs. Learning about things like insurance cost increases for using an onsite grease fryer or the sizing and placement of grease traps were part of the learning process for us. 

    It’s inevitable that menu and equipment decisions will impact each other but starting with the menu first can help keep changes to a minimum. 

    What kind of market research did you do for your area to make decisions about what kind of drinks to carry?

    We visited a lot of local restaurants and coffee shops. We felt like anything within an hour’s drive was fair game for learning what products were already successful in our market. Asking waiters or baristas what the more popular products were was very helpful as was just asking for favorites from family, friends, coworkers or anyone who was interested in what we were doing with the shop. Learning their favorites made it more personal while still reaching out to our customer base. Our goal with this research was to help develop a perspective outside of our own for the drinks people want to see in any coffee shop. Generally, people were very open to share what they liked and didn’t, which was encouraging. 

    How much did your vision for a coffee focused shop affect menu choice? The assumption would be a lot, but I’d like to get at the “coffee identity” factor and how it relates to your menu.

    With our goal to offer high quality in every drink, the shop’s menu won’t be overly extensive. We didn’t want to spread ourselves to thin starting off with a lot of options. Something about tons of choices, just didn’t seem like, “us,” right now.  We aren’t minimalists in nature, but we do love to cut waste enough to truly enjoy what is in front of us. We live our lives that way and believe the same for our coffee shop and its offerings. With that in mind, we’ll offer the best of the basics, focusing on amazing taste every single time.

    Do you think about food pairings when building the menu? Or was the thought to offer standby food options but build the drink menu independent of that?

    For us, the food and drink menu were built independent of each other. We knew the size of our shop limited space for food preparation so we built the drink menu and then developed relationships with high quality food establishments to help on the food side. Pairing between the two comes into play, but it is a little further down on the decision tree for us than may be at some other shops.

    How much does ingredient/coffee sourcing play into the development of your menu??

    Sourcing hasn’t impacted the menu development as of yet! We are working with local stores, which has made most of our development more convenient.

    How do you offset the desire to do something different with the need to offer a standard set of coffee drinks?

    It’s definitely a balance act between the vision for the shop and maintaining the shop’s economics. Our vision was so intertwined with serving the community that we started from the desire to know how best to serve the customers already surrounding us. This meant providing the standard coffee offerings based off the market research mentioned earlier. We then looked at how we could advance specialty coffee in the shop. We settled on some highlights with the pour over selection and building in coffee education events. Knowing every customer won’t want to know the growing region of a bean or the solid particle distribution in their espresso shot keeps us grounded to high standards on the more traditional drinks while focusing on stellar service. We believe quality speaks for itself in any form.

    Are you working with a specific roaster or seeking a wider range of roasts?

    The bulk of our coffee offerings will come from a single roaster who is local to our city. This is in large parts to the quality and diversity of the beans they offer. 

    How did you settle on your roaster?

    This was a big decision for us and a little intimidating at first. We started with several cold calls and email inquiries to regional and local roasters. Most were happy to answer questions we had and share about their range of products. Often they would send samples, and several allowed us to visit their roasteries. While the roaster’s bean quality was high on the list in making this choice, number one was having a relationship with the roasting company and knowing we could develop a good working relationship. You place a lot of trust into your roaster and knowing the people helped us feel settled in our choice. We are fortunate to have a great relationship with our roaster. 

    Are you looking to expand the menu in the future or specialize strongly in what you already have planned?

    While we are open to making menu changes to meet our customer’s needs well, the plan is to stay within our current style of offerings or at least stay very near them.

    How did you decide what you want to carry beyond coffee?

    Great question! We’re still working on that lol. A great part about opening the shop is knowing that every decision doesn’t have to be made before opening. This is one of those items for us that is still developing. We knew we wanted the food selection to be classic foods with a gourmet bent that would elevate the shop’s experience, almost without noticing. We believe we’ve done that with the partnership we have. The rest of what we’ll offer is still in process!

    How do you decide what to offer in terms of dairy and alternative milks?

    We wanted some variety in the alternative milk options but stayed close to the types commonly found in most shops (soy, almond, etc.). We’re big fans of the current oak milk products due to the great taste and ability to steam them like milk.

    One thing that always frustrated me when working in a coffee shop was general misconceptions about different coffee drinks from customers. Things like misunderstanding what a macchiato is, or not understanding the difference between a cappuccino and a latte, leading to customer complaints. Do you have any strategies for dealing with a customer that lacks coffee knowledge? How does that play into your drink menu?

    We see this as such an opportunity to help our customers learn more about the products they love and how they vary. It’s not possible to expect each customer to “order correctly” when so many shops vary the recipes for the standard range of drinks. This is one flaw of the coffee industry that gets translated into the customer’s error. The goal is to serve each customer and have them know they’re being served. This includes covering ordering miscues and helping to ensure they get exactly what they hoped for when they came into the shop. With the drink menu, we anticipate having a few pictorial descriptions around the shop to assist with ordering and help prevent unnecessary waste.

    Building some coffee drinks can be a challenge from a technique standpoint. How much does training and staff capabilities factor into building your menu?

    We are working to build the training program and want to really break it down to a series of small skills that build on each other. The barista trainings by the SCA are fantastic and we plan to utilize them with our baristas. With a comprehensive training program and several quality control measures, we don’t anticipate having to restrict the menu.

    Do you have any other recommendations for aspiring cafe owners on how to construct their menus?

    Definitely get a subscription to a specialty coffee magazine or two. We’ve read about some fascinating and original drinks that may be inspiring.

    We'll be back soon with more from Stanton and Lindsey!

  • Roast of the Month: Burka Gudina Ethiopia from Spotted Cow!

     

    Complex, approachable, and delicious!

    We try to bring you a wide range of origins and roasters with Roast of the Month. With that said, sometimes a certain origin really nails it for a season, which is why we've been enjoying so many Ethiopians lately! At the very least, we are very excited to feature Spotted Cow, a roaster we've yet to bring you as a Roast of the Month! This single origin couldn't be a better introduction to this talented roaster!

    Burka Gudina starts as a solid Ethiopian with flavors you'd expect. On first sip, the predictable, yet delicious, berry notes of a natural from the region surface. These flavors combine with richer chocolate notes to give you that delicious "chocolate with a cherry on top" you get from a good natural. What really impresses us with this roast is how much deeper it goes. Sometimes complex coffee can really overwhelm the palate and be a lot to handle. Not so with this roast!

    Another rarity with more complex coffees is the heavy body. Often when there are a lot of unique notes, they come from brighter, lighter bodies. This usually comes down to roast level. This Spotted Cow is an example of a true medium that doesn't sacrifice richness. We also really love the bit of tamarind that the roaster notes, we really tasted it! That sweet/sour balance makes for a really interesting and approachable roast.

    We recommend checking this one out as a pourover first. While it does feature a heavier body, this brew method is still the best for nailing those more complex notes. Once you've tried that, experiment! Our suggested roast methods are just a guide, and we always encourage experimenting with coffee. We've yet to try this one as an espresso, but we'd love to hear how you like it!

    Grab a bag here!

  • The Crema Craze!

    One of the most frequent questions we get is this: How do I produce more crema on my espresso shots? We decided it would be a good idea to give an overview of what crema is, and explain why you might not want more!

    What is crema?

    Crema is the tan liquid that forms when you’re first pulling your espresso shot. As the shot pulls, the liquid gets darker, and you end up with a layer of this tan colored head on top of the drink. This gives it the look of a well poured stout beer. But where does it come from? In part, crema is created when water is pushed through the coffee at pressure. This emulsifies the oil in the coffee and forms tiny bubbles of air. Brighter liquid is also formed by C02 emissions during the extraction, though this isn’t quite the same thing as the crema from the fat in the coffee. That C02 is present in the bean after roasting, and naturally defuses through a process called “out-gassing.” Fun fact, the valve on your bags of coffee exists specifically to facilitate this out-gassing process.

    But what does it really taste like? Sour, it turns out! While certain roasts benefit from a layer of crema to balance out the flavors of the espresso, in other roasts limiting crema is actually preferable. In fact, some roasts don’t even produce any crema due to low fat content. So what factors actually influence this sour layer of bubbles?

     

    How to get more (or less) crema

    The first thing to note is processing. Natural/honey process roasts retain more of the bean’s fat content. As noted above, a fattier bean will result in more crema. This is part of why it can be hard to dial in a natural, and why espresso blends are so popular. Ultimately, climate also has a lot to do with the oil content of the beans as well, so the whole production process influences the fat levels in the roast. Another thing to consider is roast date. It’s tough to call out the ideal time to brew and espresso after roasting. However, you’ll definitely see more of the brighter liquid during the first 72 hours after roasting. Generally the coffee will take this long to de-gas as described above. This is why it’s usually advisable to wait a few days after roasting before attempting to dial in fresh beans.

    Another factor in crema formation is roast level. Darker roasts pull the oils in the coffee to the surface of the bean, this actually results in less crema. This is because there is less oil in the bean after grinding and transferring to a portafilter. Finally, equipment matters too. a pressurized portafilter will naturally result in higher pressures, which will create more crema. That said, it won’t be as rich as crema created through more natural, unpressurized means.

    In any case, it’s important to remember the point above: While crema looks nice, you should work to pull a good shot, not one that is loaded with crema. This will create a more sour shot, rather than a balanced one!

  • Piecewise Coffee Co. - Equipping Your Shop

    Hey everyone!

    A couple of weeks ago we introduced you to our friends Stanton and Lindsey Scoma, founders of Piecewise Coffee Co. If you haven't had a chance to read about them, you can do so here! This week we're taking a look at Stanton and Lindsey's process of selecting equipment. We're also sharing some of the photos of the cafe build in progress!

    Hey Stanton! We're excited to see the progress at Piecewise. How did you go about selecting the space?

    The area we selected was in what was formerly the city’s main economic hub. Several storefronts dotted the side-walk lined street, but the life of the area had left decades earlier. We wanted to show off our little city and the history it has by giving the community another reason to walk the street.  We were blessed to have building owners who share this vision. The building we’re in is around 75 years old and we stripped back most of the interior to expose its structural character. Many of the bricks in our space were made just down the road in a local brickworks. What elements could be left exposed were.

    Makes sense, how did you go about designing the layout of the interior?

    While showing a little of our city’s past, we also wanted a space that encouraged our customers to feel welcome. The long and narrow nature of the building allowed our customer servicing area to have one long bench with several two-person table tops. This makes the space adaptable for individuals coming to study or for larger groups to come push the tables together creating a more typical community table. Community can’t be forced, and our space allows it to meet a variety of their needs. The design is full of clean lines in a lessismore approach.

    How did the general layout of the space factor into your equipment selection?

    The largest impact on selection when considering space available was ensuring the drink prep area wasn’t cluttered. We eliminated a hot water tower because the available space just wouldn’t allow it. Instead, we chose a drip brewer with a hot water dispensers to help alleviate having to eliminate the hot water tower. Fortunately, our espresso machine was in a custom space built for it so we didn’t have any space concerns with its selection.

    What considerations does workflow require when selecting equipment?

    Workflow was important for us, but we felt it could be managed well if the equipment in the shop was easy to operate and allowed our baristas to stay engaged with our customers.

    When we designed the behind the counter area, we wanted to create two regions, one for preparing espresso-based drinks and one for drip brew drinks. Each area would have its own unique equipment and anything needing to be shared would be put on a small overlapping area. Equipment capable of doing everything required for each drink area was important for this concept to work. SCG helped us think through this and showed us equipment models that could get this design right.

    Where would you say Piecewise’s “coffee identity” lies? Do you see the shop as a coffee focused shop, or is coffee just part of a wider offering of food and other drinks?

    Our focus at Piecewise Coffee is most definitely on the coffee drink. It’s our desire to produce the best tasting coffee and introduce some third wave coffee products to our area.

    Broad question, but what were some of the benefits of working with a consultant? Obviously we want to make SCG consultants seem awesome, but even more than that we want to highlight how important it is to have a dealer that does more than just sell you a machine.

    The knowledge and accessibility of the SCG consultant staff was so impressive. Each coffee shop has a unique set of needs and no equipment review we found was able to address all of our needs like John did. He had a way of steering us towards equipment to match our business and coffee goals that we couldn’t have done on our own. And we never felt pressured working with SCG.

    We ran into an issue with a custom ordered item and John worked with the manufacturer to speed up shipping times so it wouldn’t delay our opening date. To get what we wanted, when we wanted it, would have taken us several phones calls coordinating with the manufacturer and shipping company. John handled it all for us. Another thing SCG did for us was finding service technicians. Within a day, he provided several companies who serviced our area and were ready to perform initial setup and on-going maintenance.

    How much independent research did you do Vs. relying on your consultant?

    Starting out, we had a high-level understanding of coffee equipment brands but didn’t really understand the differences when it came to us considering the actual purchase of equipment. Getting ready to drop some serious cash has a way of making you more interested in the details! At each coffee shop we visited, we would note equipment being used by the baristas and often we asked how they liked working with a particular espresso machine or grinder. All the brands have several models, each with their own nuanced pros and cons. We probably spent several weeks doing independent research when you add the coffee shop visits with the internet research. A ton of hours were spent watching Youtube reviews which helped show differences in action between machines. 

    When did Seattle Coffee Gear come in?

    As we got closer to placing an order for the equipment, we connected with SCG about the purchase and found out they offered free equipment consultation. This wasn’t something we had considered or even knew about prior to them mentioning it. The team at SCG listened to our dreams and goals with the coffee shop before ever asking what equipment we were interested in. Above anything else they cared about a quality match between the shop and its equipment. Their depth of knowledge was apparent from the first conversation. It was detailed and often based on actual experience working with the different machines. Most baristas work with one or two different espresso machines or grinders, but the SCG team has worked with dozens and from their experience they shared how each would perform in a store. 

    What was one of the most helpful techniques that John used to help you make purchasing decisions?

    The biggest question they asked was “Why” we wanted each specific piece of equipment. They took the time to make sure we knew what each equipment piece could do for us. The one time we had a question they couldn’t answer, they reached out to the manufacturer and got back to us in a day or two. Our confidence in equipment selection went way up after we connected with SCG. If we had to start over, we still would have done our own independent research, but would very much preferred having a conversation with the SCG equipment team at the earliest point in the process to narrow the options. 

    How much did brand factor into the purchasing process?

    Brand factored most into the espresso machine selection. Being the workhorse of the shop, we wanted this one piece to have a solid history of reliability and, most importantly, repairability. The number of servicing technicians is limited in our market and we needed to know our machine could be serviced by someone in the area. We had brand preferences for the other pieces of equipment, but yielded to features and pricing more on those items.

    What was the hardest piece of equipment to settle on? Why?

    The drip brewer took the most thought to choose. There’s a number of makes to sort through, each with a dozen or more of their own models. Sometimes the differences were hard to spot and pricing could vary wildly. John helped us settle on one that was very programable with brew parameters like water temperature and brew time. John’s knowledge of equipment reliability helped us feel confident in making our selection.

    What equipment did you try to save some money on?

    The biggest investment for our shop was by far the espresso machine and espresso grinder. Our goal with them was to get the all the features needed to produce the best coffee possible. John at SCG really helped us navigate the different models for both those items and make a selection. John was also able to help us save money on the bulk coffee grinder by steering us away from one that would be way overkill for our size of coffee shop. 

    Where did you leave room for upgrades?

    We were a little unsure which menu items our community would want most so we left a large section of our undercounter storage area open. As we grow this can allow us to add equipment for the specific wants of our customers, whether it be with additional refrigeration or cold brew taps or hot food storage.

    What piece of equipment are you most excited to get your hands on?

    We keep referencing the espresso machine, but it’s such a such unique item and we cannot wait to get some time using it! 

    We can't wait to bring you more from Stanton, Lindsey, and Piecewise soon!

     

     

     

     

     

  • Roast of the Month

    Hey coffee fans!

    It’s that time again for Roast of the Month! This month we’re featuring a delicious single origin from Victrola: Yirgacheffe Yirgz!

     

    What’s with that name?

     

    The Z in YIRGZ denotes that the coffee has zero defects. That designation comes from the extremely rigorous sorting and processing that the beans undergo after harvesting. Victrola notes that each 14kg batch is hand sorted for 12 minutes, which is 300% longer than is typical for the region. This coffee is sourced through Keffa, a coffee broker that puts as much dedication behind supporting quality of life for their producers as they do the quality of coffee. This results in excellent coffee made even more excellent by an inspired roaster!

     

    This roast offers a range of complex tasting notes. We got a strong citrus flavor at the front of the palate with a satisfying spice around the edges. Also notable is the floral aroma that will greet you as you prepare for your first sip. It’s a really nice, delicate scent that improves the experience of this coffee. As far as brew methods are concerned, we recommend trying this one out as a pourover first to get the complexities and more delicate flavors in this roast.

     

    We love this roast and can’t wait for you to give it a try! Check it out here.
  • Guide to Holiday Roasts: Part 3

    Welcome to the final part in our holiday roasts series! Check our Part 1 and Part 2, and enjoy your holidays!

    Bluebeard Coffee Roasters - Snowbeard

    Bluebeard's Snowbeard features sweet, fruity and berry notes thanks to the natural-processed beans in the roast. Washed beans bring more traditional holiday notes of gingerbread and light spices as well. This is a warming, delicious roast that we love in a variety of brew methods. Try it today to wow the coffee lovers in your home!

    Anchorhead Coffee - Winter Warmer

    Winter Warmer is a wild roast from Anchorhead. Notes like "Sugarplum Fairy dreams" and "reindeer musk" are hilarious and silly, but this roast delivers on taste too. Featuring beans from Ethiopia and South America, this roast really brings the sweet notes. Everyone here loved it, and we're sure you will too. To top it all off, the bag is super fun!

    Batdorf and Bronson - Holiday Blend

    Batdorf's Holiday Blend is as classic as it gets. This simple roast features notes of dark chocolate and cherry liqueur. With a full body and those warm, sweet notes, we highly recommend this as a great one to share with friends and family. You can brew this roast a variety of ways, but we LOVED it as a drip brew especially!

    Intelligentsia Coffee - Celebration Blend

    For as iconic as oranges are as a holiday treat, it's surprising that we don't see more of this note in these holiday roasts. It's not totally absent from other coffees this season, but we still love the sneaky tangerine notes in this delicious blend for Intelligentsia. Other berry and spice notes combine with that tangerine to make a fruity, full flavored coffee that is perfect for this season.

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Seattle Coffee Gear Holiday Blend

    Last but not least! We couldn't not give a shout out to our collaboration with Brandywine Coffee Roasters. They helped us help them to do the roasting on a coffee that we're proud to put our name on. Rich jammy, cider notes meet the aforementioned orange flavors for a tasty, easy drinking brew. We can't help but love the wonderful artwork that Brandywine designed for the bag too!

  • Guide to Holiday Roasts - Part 2

    We took a look at some holiday roasts in part one of this feature, and we're back with several more! Check out these toasty brews for some tastes of the season!

    Espresso Republic - Cabin Fever Blend

    Espresso Republic offers an excellent holiday espresso roast in Cabin Fever. Listing tasting notes like root beer, molasses, and anise, this is definitely a unique roast. We love the holiday spice flavors present in this one for sure. The root beer notes listed come from a sweet nip at the front of the palate. This combined with the rich body and molasses notes, plus the aforementioned spice creates a very tasty brew! As we said, this is an espresso roast, so you'll want to enjoy it as such!

    Huckleberry Roasters - Sister Winter

    Sister Winter is a very simple roast, but perfect if you like a variety of brew methods. Press, pourover, and drip all offer a different take on these classic flavors. We even recommend this roast for superauto espresso machines! Chocolate and berry notes meet a toasty, pastry like aroma for a real crowd pleaser!

    Toby's Estate - Miracle on N. 6th St.

    Miracle on N. 6th St. is another one full of spice notes, but with a citrus twist. Celebrate the holiday citrus tradition with this roast, which features a blend of washed and natural process beans. We loved this one in a variety of brew methods too! Toby's lists notes of orange, cinnamon, and malbec, which we agree combine to create a satisfying holiday treat.

    49th Parallel Coffee - Holiday Edition

    49th lists fruity flavors like juice and apricot alongside a nutty roasted almond note. These flavors combine for a tasty mix of classic holiday flavors. We really love that this one offers that almond note, as the mild apricot flavors really combine in a mellow, but satisfying way. This one is definitely not designed for espresso, and we specifically recommend it as a filter brew. Great for a morning cup or a late night coffee beside the fire!

    Victrola Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Alongside cozy and cute bag art, this roast really satisfies. Victrola's tasting notes are chocolate, toasted pecan, walnut, and carrot cake. We love how varied and complex this blend is! The sweeter notes combine with the rich, nutty notes for a full bodied and delicious holiday roast. This roast uses natural process beans alongside washed process, so you'll notice hints of sweetness from the naturals and the nuttier notes coming from the washed beans. Recommended for filter brewing!

    Reverie Coffee Roasters - Christmas Cheer

    This one features delicious hot cocoa, baking spice, and roasted nut notes. These are really legendary holiday flavors and they combine for a predictable, but delicious blend here. We actually got peanut brittle notes from this one that we really loved! Definitely a richer blend, we recommend this one in a variety of different brew methods. And excellent all arounder that guests will love!

    Stay tuned, because we have ONE MORE holiday roast feature headed your way soon!

  • Roast of the Month: Ladro Roasting Myanmar Yay Chan Pyin

    It's time for another roast of the month here at SCG! This month we were excited by the unique flavors in Ladro Roasting's Myanmar Yay Chan Pyin! Read on for why:

    Unique and Delicious

    Myanmay Yay Chan Pyin comes to us from the Shan State region of Myanmar and the beans were grown at an elevation of 1,534 meters. Generally coffee from Myanmar features a big body with heavier flavor notes, and this is true here as well. What sets this coffee apart for us is just how complex it is. Sometimes we pick the smoothest or best all around cup, but in this case we definitely can't get over the range of notes going on with this roast.

    The nose on this roast is wildly complex, with earthy, sweet scents not quite overwhelming the senses. At the front of the coffee you really can taste the brown sugar notes. This sweetness reminds us of baking cookies or cake, but quickly gives way to the flavors imparted by the natural processing of these beans. That natural taste manifests as a tropical, fruity note that Ladro has identified as Guava. It's definitely different than the more berry notes that South American and African natural processing creates. We love it here. Finally, the earthier, cedar tones hit the back of the palate, rounding out this coffee nicely. You're left with a earthy, slightly tart, but overall smooth mouthfeel that is very satisfying.

    Brew Methods and Closing Thoughts

    Ladro recommends using a drip method or pourover for this roast, and we agree. It's a light one, so pourover is really the best way to tease out the roast's more complex notes and aromas.

    Like most coffee from Myanmar, this one is a micro-lot. That means it won't last forever and we have a limited stock! Snag a bag for yourself here!

  • Holiday Drink Ideas!

    We've all heard of the egg nog latte or the peppermint mocha, but what about some other flavors fit for holiday cheer?

    Lots of Lattes!

    Lattes are one of the easiest drinks to influence the flavor of. By choosing the right coffee and the right syrup, there's no end to the combinations. Try frosted mint syrup for a peppermint kick in an eggnog latte or traditional mocha! Looking for something a little more rich and nutty? Monin's peanut butter syrup offers just that.

    Beyond syrups, there's loads of spices that you can add to bring your latte up a notch. Try some brown sugar and cardamom for an aromatic, delicious touch. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and simple syrup also make for a delectable addition to any holiday cup of coffee.

     

    No Espresso? No Problem!

    Maybe espresso just isn't your jam. Fear not! With a hint of heavy cream, spice, and fruity syrup or concentrate, you can add some holiday cheer to your favorite pourover or press brew as well. To really wow your family and friends, try experimenting with fruit and spice combinations that match up with the tasting notes on the coffee roasts you're using.

    Another fun way to bring a cooler twist to your holiday coffee offering is to stock up on cold brew! Cold brew mixes great with everything mentioned above, especially with some milk. Try cold frothing in a Breville Milk Café for an extra tasty holiday "notte!"

    We'll be back Monday with another batch of great holiday roasts to check out!

  • Guide to Holiday Roasts Part 1

    Holidays bring a whole world of delicious holiday roasts! From warm, chocolatey blends to some exciting fruitier coffees, we're excited to share our 2018 holiday roast guide! This week, we'll take a look at 6 of the roasts we're featuring this year. We'll finish up with several more next week! Without further adieu:

    Caffe Ladro - Fireside

    Caffe Ladro's Fireside returns this year for a delicious cup of coffee to enjoy with friends and family around the fireplace. Our team has used words like "cozy," "classic," and "warm" to describe this delicious holiday blend. The molasses notes offer a indulgent sweetness with earthy, nutty notes on the finish. Definitely a delicious roast in a variety of brew methods!

    Velton's Coffee - Holiday Blend

    It's typical (and delicious) to get strong chocolate notes from holiday coffee roasts. While that makes for a familiar, warm, and inviting cup of coffee, Velton's brings us something a little different this year. This roast features delicious fruity notes like pineapple and lemon with berry flavors coming from the natural beans in the blend. We love how bold this roast is, and how much it stands out! Check it out as a drip or espresso!

    Tony's Coffee - Backcountry Blend

    For anyone looking for a darker roast this holiday season, check out Tony's Backcountry Blend. This coffee offers milk chocolate notes alongside more earthy flavors of toasted almond. What we liked about this blend is that it'll satisfy those looking for a darker roast without being too much for the medium roast drinker. This is a plus when looking for a coffee to share with others over the holidays! It also works for a variety of brew methods.

    Counter Culture Coffee - Iridescent

    The perfect gift blend, Iridescent features brilliant, giftable packaging and a striking look! That's not all though, this is a delicious blend of Colombian, Kenyan, and Ethiopian beans that makes for an accessible roast that will still provide some complexity. Predictable chocolate notes come from the washed process beans in this blend, with the natural beans lending a berry flavor. We love this roast in a variety of brew methods. What's more, Counter Culture is donating a nickel of every pound of coffee sold to charities in the producing countries!

    Dogwood Coffee - Snow Emergency

    Continuing the trend of blending natural and washed process beans, Dogwood's snow Emergency is a brilliant holiday entry. Natural process beans bring a berry, cherry flavor to this roast that's rounded out by traditional chocolate notes. This is a full bodied roast that won't overwhelm, and makes for an excellent drip brew.

    Kickapoo Coffee Roasters - Revelry

    For a brighter set of notes, check out Kickapoo's Revelry! This delicious medium light blend will please a wide range of coffee drinkers. We love the richness of this cup of coffee, but it doesn't overwhelm if you like lighter roasts. The smooth aroma is a delightful prelude to the richer flavors inside the roast too! Try it in a press or as a drip brew!

    Check back soon for more holiday roast notes!

     

     

     

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